LShirockywrite

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rough rough draft #1 of my Narrative Essay:


Mom watched from the window hoping to catch a glimpse of her mother’s grey Chevy pulling in the driveway. The leaves were just beginning to turn a collection of bright colors and some had already fallen into the small lawn surrounding the dark red house. It was seven o’clock on a Monday evening, a school night, and dinner was already getting cool as it continues to sit on the table. The green beans were beginning to get soggy and the gravy had long since congealed into a gooey mess. Susan, Mom’s oldest sister was flipping through channels on the black and white television, hoping to find something other than cartoons to entertain her evening. Mom continued to stare out the window wondering what time Daddy would be home. She was hoping he have been home by now, but unfortunately it appeared that tonight would be one of his later nights, meaning he would probably turn up in around ten that night. He would sloppily walk up the front porch and rap on the door, forgetting again that he indeed had a key to his own house. Sometimes he would stumble into the house and it never failed that something was broken in the process.
Around eight o’clock her mother appearing drained of every ounce of energy sauntered into the house, quietly sat down at the dinner table, and began eating the already chilly contents of the plate. Her mother looked up and called over to my mother, “work was ok, thanks for asking...” she said with a resentful tone in her voice. Her mother worked full time as a teller at a local BB& T Bank. “Has your Dad called?” her mother asked. “No,” my mom sighed, no word from him.”
My mom restlessly got up from the lifeless window and proceeded to the basement to begin her homework for the night. She was a high school senior and was only two agonizing semesters away from graduating. She was beginning college applications as well. She was only applying to one school, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She would live with her grandmother, who lived within walking distance of the campus and major in Psychology. It had all been decided as long as she was admitted into the school. Her Daddy had invested too much time in her studies for her not to go. Besides she really loved school and was excited about the prospect of escaping beyond the crippling four walls of her small, smothering house located in a lower class suburb of Greenboro, North Carolina. As a Spanish teacher at the local public high school, her Daddy had a college education and emphasized the importance of such an endeavor. It wasn’t even a question, it was understood that she was too smart to abruptly stop her education with high school, she must attend college and excel as her Daddy assured her she could. The harsh sound of my cell phone brought her back to the present.



“Mom, what are you thinking?” I asked. “Why after you got your masters degree in social work did you work for Henrico County Public schools?”
My mom quickly answered that she was offered two jobs in the area…


Mom had two job offers in the Richmond area, which is where she was currently living with her husband, Mike who was in the army. Mike’s job demanded that they move often, from North Carolina, Texas, California, and finally to Richmond, Virginia. My mother upon finishing graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University was able to choose between two jobs. One job was a field placement in Chesterfield Social Services and the other was a placement in Henrico County Public school system. The Henrico County school system was willing to pay Mom seventeen thousand dollars a year with two months off during the summer. Chesterfield social services would only pay her ten to eleven thousand a year with basically no time off from work. It came down to money, my Mom said. Henrico County Schools were going to pay me so much more and that was a decent amount of money at that time. The Chesterfield job would have been more interesting, but the difference in salary and the two months off were the deciding factors.
Mom explains that she never found a passion in a subject that inspired her to seek an ambitious career. She fell in love with her first husband, finished graduate school in social work, and found a job in this area. She enjoyed analyzing the lives of troubled children and their families and hopefully in some way helping to improve their lives. Psychology was always a subject of interest for her. This interest in psychology may be attributed to her home environment growing up. With an alcoholic father, distant mother, and five unruly sisters, my mother didn’t have what most would define as an ideal childhood. She never found a subject that impassioned her. She use to toy with the idea of becoming a teacher but never really thought to pursue it. She even applied to graduate school for library science, having always loved books. Becoming a librarian seemed like a perfect fit for her. Unfortunately, she wasn’t accepted to UNC’s graduate program in library science, thus my mom gave up hope of becoming a librarian and instead completed her graduate program in social work. She still wonders how things would be different if she had gotten into the library science program at UNC. Would she still be working today? Probably not.


Description of my Mom’s job working for Henrico County Public Schools as a social worker...

She says she wouldn’t have worked even if she had found her passion. She didn’t want to work. Mom met her second husband, my Dad, and several years later I was born. Mom didn’t want to leave me. The moment I was born there was a connection that she never wanted to be broken. Mom would spend hours staring at me while I slept, ensuring that I was safe and catering to my every whim. She claims she loved me too much and was too attached to consider going back to work. She thought maybe part time….but she had this overwhelming love for me and she didn’t want to leave me. Dad was fine with Mom not working. It added financial stress to Dad, but he didn’t mind her staying home and ensuring that my brother and I were raised with their mother always there to support and nurture us. My Mom was very fortunate that Dad was able to support our family and had the opportunity to stay at home. Mom claims that she has never regretted her decision, attesting that it was definitely the right thing to do.




“Mom, what influenced you to stay at home? Why were you so against going back to work?”

She claims her mother influenced her decision to a great extent. Her mother was never there. She didn’t have a strong mother figure growing up and she wanted to change this and be a mother figure that was always present and available to help with anything and everything. My mother knows that a lot of mothers went back to work either because of financial reasons or simply because they enjoyed working. She wanted to be the traditional stay-at-home mother that she never had. She lacked something in her childhood and attributes a great deal of that to the absence of her mother both physically and emotionally from her life. She asserts that it may have been possible for her mother to work and have a close relationship with her mother, but this was simply not the case. Her mother failed to establish a close relationship with her daughters and this may correlate with her working, but not necessarily…

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Style Summary: Lesson 5, Cohesion and Coherence

Williams defines cohesion as pairs of sentences fitting together as Lego pieces do and defines coherence as the way many Lego pieces fit together. Thus, it is easier to have cohesion than it is to have coherence.
If a passage seems choppy or disorganized, then the coherence of the passage needs to be improved. Williams advises to begin sentences with information that is familiar to readers and also to end sentences with information readers cannot anticipate, so that more difficult aspects for readers are at the end. Finally, Williams warns against two mistakes some writers typically make. "Allegged Monotony" occurs when a writer feels a passage is monotonous because the same topic is continually being discussed. This may be acceptable as long as you aren't using many of the exact same words. Another mistake that Williams highlights is "faked coherence," in which prose is "laced" with conjunctions such as thus, therfore, and however. It is advised to avoid using such words more than a few times on each page.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Final Revisions to the Chaucer Paper:

Implication and Truth: Exploration of the Critical Essays “The Book of the Duchess: the Date of Composition Related to Theme of Impracticality” by Gwen Vickery and “True and False Portrayture” by Lisa Kiser

Writing poetry can be a difficult task in the many facets one must consider to express one’s overall purpose. Unfortunately, being a court poet can be an even more daunting task considering a court poet is not only concerned with conveying their intended message, but pleasing their patron as well. The distinction of class between a patron and poet forced poets to devise clever ways to ensure they were not in any way offending their beneficiary. Poets must carefully balance fulfilling their patron’s wishes gracefully without excessive lying or praise.
Tactfully representing a person or event accurately, while managing to express one’s own thoughts, is no simple undertaking. This idea of accurate representation is explored in two critical essays which try to interpret Chaucer’s primary message in the Book of the Duchess. An article by Lisa Kiser, “True and False Portrayture in The Book of the Duchess,” analyzes Chaucer’s exploration of truth and ultimate inability to obtain it while Gwen Vickery in “The Book of the Duchess: the date of composition related to theme of impracticality” also discuses obtaining inherent truths, but focuses primarily on discounting the text as an Elegy. Although each essay devises very different conclusions, both Vickery and Kiser in their essays emphasize the poet’s necessity to balance their own thoughts while adequately representing and satisfying their commissioner. Chaucer in the Book of the Duchess elegantly balances his patron’s wishes, interpretation of the truth, and reality.
In the article “True and False Portrayture in The Book of the Duchess” Lisa Kiser claims that the text suggests “there is no significant difference between representing the real and imagining the fictional,” for there is no inherent truth; only the author’s interpretation of truth (24). Chaucer is highlighting a “textuality that all writers have,” in that a writer’s words are their own interpretation and vision or one form of truth and cannot be implied universally to anyone other than the author (24). Kiser sites countless evidence to support her thesis that Chaucer is aware of his limited ability to provide the reader with accurate truth. By creating the fictional characters of the Black Knight and White, the overall portrayal of the Black Knight, and the incorporation of Morpheus’ character into the poem; Chaucer, according to Kiser, is aware of this inability to provide absolute truths concerning his subjects.
Using fictional characters to represent John of Gaunt and the Duchess of Blanche, Kiser highlights Chaucer’s knowledge that he cannot accurately depict his subjects. The Black Knight resembles John of Gaunt while White represents the Duchess of Blanche. Each of these characters resembles their real counterpart enough for the reader to understand whom they represent, while allowing Chaucer leverage in accurately depicting them. Chaucer escapes the difficulty and pressure of trying to perfectly recreate them in absolute accuracy. Kiser states that Chaucer “casts [the real] characters in fictional guises” so that slight manipulation of their descriptions and situations is acceptable, considering they are not “real” people (Kiser 12).
In this way there is a greater ability for a poet to express their thoughts through “fictional” character description. The presence of textuality can be seen by agreeing that in writing only the author’s interpretation or truth is being expressed, not the overall “truth” of another experience or person. Each description is simply the author’s interpretation and has no greater weight. Thus, Kiser asserts that Chaucer in the Book of the Duchess poses the question of whether it is possible to capture the truth of another human being in text (12). To avoid these complications, Chaucer creates fictional characters to represent the actual people he describes.
Chaucer’s overall portrayal of the Black Knight’s character also proves as a safeguard to any misinterpretations of Blanche of John of Gaunt (Kiser 13). The Black night repeatedly claims that in his descriptions of the Duchess of Blanche “I kan not now well counterfete/ Hir wordes” (1241-42). The Knight is unable to adequately describe White’s beauty or highly esteemed demeanor. By claiming this, Chaucer is liberated from obligations of perfectly depicting Blanche. The overall representation of the Knight’s character affirms his claims of Blanche and his feelings true. The Knight continually claims that he is honest and true to his word in his feelings towards White. The Knight is essentially claiming that he is aware that he “failed” to accurately convey his love for Blanche in this elegy, but this failure is acceptable because of the careful way the Knight’s character is revealed. This “failed elegy” shows Chaucer’s acknowledgement that absolute truth is not possible and this consciousness must be exposed.
Another important device to protect Chaucer from misrepresentation is his incorporation of the Ovidian tale of Morpheus into the Book of the Duchess. Kiser states that dream-frames such as the one Chaucer outlines, are known as “notoriously untrustworthy” and lack truth (18). The retelling of the Ovidian tale serves to compare Chaucer to Morpheus. Morpheus, like Chaucer is commissioned by a social superior to assuage one’s grief by recreating an image of their lost loved one. Morpheus is asked to recreate Ceyx as Chaucer is asked to recreate the Duchess of Blanche. As Morpheus fails to accurately recreate Ceyx, Chaucer fails to commemorate ‘White’ through the Black Knight’s character. Ceyx may appear to be reconstructed, but it is merely an image and is not substantial. By incorporating this tale into his poetry, Chaucer is stating that it is impossible to recreate the Duchess of Blanche as it is impossible for Morpheus to bring back Ceyx to Alcione. As Alcione claims “shul [Ceyx] never lye yse” (205), Chaucer makes his inability to recreate Blanche apparent in the same way Morpheus cannot recreate Alcione (Kiser 18).
Entirely unrelated to Kiser’s thesis of Chaucer’s atention to textuality, Gwen Vickery in “The Book of the Duchess: the date of composition related to theme of impracticality,” focuses primarily on refuting the poem as an elegy and claims the poem is a “carefully argued justification for Gaunt’s second marriage,” which was supposedly several weeks after the death of Blanche (Vickery 2). Vickery claims that due to numerous examples where the language of the poem does not follow the traditional form of courtly poetry, there is an emphasis on “practicality over idealism” in reference to the Duchess of Blanche (1). Typical elegies of the time period would have an emphasis on courtly love and devotion, but Vickery asserts that practicality is instead emphasized to correspond with John of Gaunt’s upcoming marriage. Vickery suggests that the date of composition associated with the Book of the Duchess may be later than initially thought, proving that Chaucer was aware of Gaunt’s wedding. Given this awareness, Chaucer was forced use the “utmost tact and caution” to portray Gaunt as the “bereaved husband,” while keeping in mind the impending replacement of the Duchess of Blanche (Vickery 3).
Vickery suggests Chaucer creates an underlying theme that places a greater emphasis on practicality than idealism of the Duchess of Blanche. A clear example is shown in the alterations Chaucer makes in the story of Alcione and Ceyx. The original story depicts Ceyx telling Alcione to mourn his death and to “shed tears for me” (line 263). Chaucer’s altered version of the story has Ceyx advising Alcione to “move out of her mournful, sterile self-made cave of remorse into the sunlight of practical life” (lines 201-204). Vickery claims that Chaucer is showing how self-indulgent grief is and that it is acceptable for John of Gaunt to move on in the same way Alcione does in this altered story. Chaucer is suggesting it is acceptable for John of Gaunt to move on past Blanche by remarrying another woman (4).
Although both articles interpret the Book of the Duchess in radically different ways, both articles explore Chaucer’s purpose in the text and discuss the manipulation of truth to convey this purpose. In addition to both articles explaining Chaucer’s dealings with truth, both question the classification of the book as an elegy. Each article emphasizes the necessary balance between depicting truth and maintaining the commissioner’s support. Vickery’s article supports these ideas while further suggesting that Chaucer incorporates subtle commentary into the text to express his disapproval of Gaunt’s impending marriage. Similarly, Kiser ultimately suggests that the Book of the Duchess unsuccessfully depicts the Duchess of Blanche or John of gaunt through the creation of fictional characters, thus eliminating the possibility of text embodying truth. The Book of the Duchess according to both authors is a failed Elegy. Kiser claims that due to the Black Knight’s inability to accurately describe White, the Elegy is unsuccessful. Vickery, dissimilar to Kiser claims that Chaucer’s work was never intended to be an elegy but simply a justification for John of Gaunt’s second marriage as well as preserving the Duchess of Blanche’s honor.
In this way, both critiques share several similarities concerning the authors’ views of truth. Kiser and Vickery are both uncertain of classifying the Book of the Duchess as an Elegy due to the inaccurate representation of Blanche’s character. Each essay analyzes Chaucer’s motivation for fashioning the text and illuminate different possibilities. Through these possibilities insight is gained into Chaucer’s conceptions of truth and his overall motives for creating the Book of the Duchess.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Continuing revisions to my Chaucer paper on the Book of Duchess that is due tomorrow:
(I analyze two Critical essays that anaylze this work)

Writing poetry can be a difficult task in the many facets one must consider to express one’s overall purpose. Unfortunately, being a court poet can be an even more daunting task considering that court poet’s are not only concerned with conveying their message but pleasing their patron as well. The distinction of class between a patron and his poet forced poets to devise ways to ensure they were not in any way offending their beneficiary. Poet’s must carefully balance gracefully fulfill the wishes of their patron gracefully without excessive lying or praise. Tactfully representing a person or event accurately while managing to express one’s own thoughts is no simple undertaking. This idea of accurate representation is explored in two critical essays which try to interpret Chaucer’s primary message in the Book of the Duchess. Although each essay devises very different conclusions, each emphasizes the poet’s necessity to balance the poet’s own thoughts while adequately representing their commissioner. Chaucer in the Book of Duchess elegantly balances his patron’s wishes, Chaucer’s interpretation of truth, and reality.
In the article “True and False Portrayture in The Book of the Duchess” by Lisa Kiser, Kiser claims that the text suggests “there is no significant difference between representing the real and imagining the fictional,” for there is no inherent truth; only the author’s interpretation of truth (Kiser 24). Chaucer is highlighting a “textuality that all writers have,” in that a writer’s words are their own interpretation and vision or one form of truth and cannot be implied universally to anyone other than the author. Kiser countless evidence to support her thesis that Chaucer is aware of his limited ability to provide the reader with accurate truth. By creating the fictional characters of the Black Knight and White, the overall portrayal of the Black Knight, and the incorporation of Morpheus’ character into the poem, Chaucer according to Kiser aware of this inability to provide absolute truths concerning his subjects.
By using fictional characters to represent John of Gaunt and the Duchess of Blanche, Kiser highlights Chaucer’s awareness that he cannot accurately depict his subjects. The Black Knight resembles John of Gaunt while White represents Blanche the Duchess. Each of these characters resemble their real counterparts just enough for reader to be conscious of which they represent, but in being fictional, allow Chaucer leverage in describing them. Chaucer escapes the difficulty and pressure of trying to perfectly recreate them in absolute accuracy. Kiser says that Chaucer “casts [the real] characters in fictional guises” so that slight manipulation of their descriptions and situations is acceptable considering they are not “real” people (Kiser 12).
In this way there is a greater ability for a poet to express their thoughts through the description of the character that is indeed “fictional.” From this idea one can see the presence of textuality in that in agreeing to write for another one’s own interpretation is expressed, not the overall “truth” of an experience or person. Each description is simply a particular person’s interpretation and has no greater weight. Thus, the Book of Duchess poses the question is it possible to capture the truth of another human being Kiser wonders (12). Thus to avoid these complications Chaucer creates fictional characters to represent the actual people being described.
Chaucer’s overall portrayal of the Black Knight’s character also proves as a safeguard to any misinterpretations of Blanche of John of Gaunt (Kiser 13). The Black night repeatedly claims that in his descriptions of the Duchess of Blanche “I kan not now well counterfete/ Hir wordes” (1241-42). The Knight is unable to adequately describe White’s beauty or highly esteemed demeanor. By claiming this, Chaucer is liberated from obligations of perfectly depicting Blanche. The overall representation of the Knight’s character affirms his claims of Blanche and his feelings true. The Knight continually claims that he is honest and true to his word in his feelings towards White. The Knight is essentially claiming that he is aware that he “failed” to accurately convey his love for Blanche in this elegy, but this is acceptable because of the careful way the Knight’s character is revealed. This shows Chaucer’s acknowledgement that absolute truth is not possible and this consciousness must be exposed.
Another important device to protect Chaucer from misrepresentation is his incorporation of the Ovidian tale of Morpheus. Kiser states that dream-frames such as the one Chaucer outlines in the Book of the Duchess, are known as “notoriously untrustworthy” and lack truth (18). The retelling of the Ovidian tale serves to compare Chaucer to Morpheus. Morpheus, like Chaucer is commissioned by a social superior to assuage one’s grief by recreating an image of their lost loved one. Morpheus is asked to recreate Ceyx as Chaucer is asked to recreate Blanche. As Morpheus fails to accurately recreate Ceyx, Chaucer fails to commemorate ‘White’ through the Black Knight’s character. Ceyx may appear to be reconstructed, but it is merely an image and is not substantial. By incorporating this tale into his poetry, Chaucer is stating that it is impossible to recreate the Duchess of Blanche as it is impossible for Mropheus to bring back Seys to Alcione. As Alcione claims “shul [Seys] never lye yse” (205). Chaucer makes his inability to recreate Blanche apparent in this way....

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Notes for my narrative (from my mother)
-she discusses her how her environment growing up impacted her decision not to work after having me:

-her Dad influenced her to continue her education after high school
-always interested in psychology (says proabably because of her "screwed up" family life) as well as sociology
-after majoring in psych @ UNC @ Chapel Hill, applied there for graduate in library science but not accepted
-1971-2-worked in UNC library in the serial section (persiodicals) -mostly women in section as was her boss
-most women had masters degrees
-"librarians tend to be women" -"tends to be women's profession," "engineers, astronauts..tend to be men"
-1972-4- Texas-job in library-because Mike (her husband) was in army and being transferred
-moved to Durham, NC worked for Dept EPA- clerk typist (clerical work)
-didn't really like it but payed fairly well-jobs weren't easy to come by it seemed-was recession at the time

-wanted to be a teacher initially when growing up, but never really persued it
-claims she isn't "as amibitious as me" (i want to be corporate lawyer and have a lot of things i want to accomplish)
-says she "wanted to learn mor, but no real burning desire to do something"
-feels that noticed as a social worker (which is what she ended up getting her masters degree in) that children w/ parents that both worked =harder on children-they didn't have much time to devote to kids-tired from work: mothers had to try to juggle work kids, cooking and everything that goes along w/ being a mom
-she says that her mom worked all the time & thus she wanted to be home w/ her kids
-"too hard to keep job w/ so mahy outside hours w/ social work"
-"didn't want to miss the developmental stages of her children"
-wanted to be able to "participate in schol functions: room mother, ect"
-"never been a person who felt had to have a career" & "not career-oriented person"
-would have had to commute to work (lived in Fredericksburg and would have to go to Richmond)
* her MOM always worked FULL TIME- thus felt resposibility fell on her to take care of her younger sisters and this was hard on her-she always missed her mother and wished she could have been home more (her mom had to work to make ends meet)
-one of main reasons that influenced her to want to stay home with her children-more inportant to her to be @ home then work
-"didn't find career= this is me"
-if had had grad program in lib science & had gotten in then still wouldn;t have prob. worked after having her first child
still didn't really "find passion" (in work)
"I didn't want to leav you" (referring to me) & "had overwhelming oover for you...didn't want to leave,: "don't regret the decision I made; it may have been a little harder financially, but I feel I made the right decision"
-"your Dad said he would be fine w/ me working or not working-up to me"
-"Luckily we could do it- some people have to work but I was lucky I didn't have to"
-but i feel at the time a lot of women were working
-mom says she didn't see the media playing an influence in women working or not or perceptions of women but agrees when i mention Miss America and all of the beauty products that portray what the ideal woman was supposed to be like
-my mom claims she is in some ways a feminist: thinks equal pay/rights for women, contributions and ideals should be equally weighed...but does admit that women are different from men and "men see us as more emotional and us being this way is a good thing" -"men are sometimes too goal oriented and they need to be more balanced" but men "shouldn't be payed more"

Friday, March 17, 2006

Style Summary Lesson 4:

This chapter discusses the signifigance of understanding the importance of characters and how readers want action in verbs. We need to name the character in subjects while making them short, specific, and concrete. Williams also advises that if readers are not familiar with the subject of a story then avoid using abstract nominalizations. The difference between active and passive verbs is differentiated. There are times when it is necessary to use the passive voice: you don't know who did an action or don't want them to know, you want to shift complex information to the end of a sentence, and then you want to focus your reader's attention on a particular character. The different passive voices are also discussed in detail. The main point of the chapter is to make points "as simple as possible, but no simpler" and to "write to others as you would have others write to you" (70).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This is my resume cover sheet that I am sending to various attorneys in the Richmond area in hopes of getting an internship this summer:
RMC Box #1259
Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, VA 23005
LShirocky@rmc.edu
(540)347-6499
March 15, 2006

Mr. Employer
555 Main St.
Anytown, VA

Dear Mr. Employer,

As a junior at Randolph-Macon College majoring in English and Philosophy, I am interested in pursuing a career in law.
This past January, I had the privileged opportunity of interning with the law firm of Macaulay & Burtch, specifically with J.B. Burtch. Primarily focused on employment law, I gained a great deal of insight into what law entails and am even more enthusiastic about the prospect of law school. While interning, I had a variety of responsibilities including researching current cases, revising affidavits, and reorganizing files. I really enjoyed working for Maucalay & Burtch and appreciated their kindness in giving me such an opportunity.
In order to enhance my skills and interest in law to a greater extent, I am seeking an internship for this summer. I am a good oral and written communicator, flexible, adaptable, and a quick learner. My resume is enclosed for your review.
I would like the opportunity to meet with you for further discussion. I am very interested in joining your firm for this summer, and would look forward to an interview at your convenience. Thank you for your consideration.

Cordially,



Lauren Shirocky

Enc. resume

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Biographical Narrative: " A Life Revealed"

-begins w/ key moment when picture taken then tells story of finding her again
-"stories shift like sand in a place where no records exist"(34) -Suggesting nothing is permanent & there is very little keeping these people's memories alive
-repitition of "sea green eyes"-emphasizes the unstable society; represent only thing that doesn't change; really convey the emotion and show there is deeper meaning to narrative that what is actually stated
-overall meaning possibly suggesting there needs to be social change in Afghanistan due to all of the suffering and hardships described?

Personal Narrative: "High Anxiety"

-Story told beginning w/ glimpse of her now and then is goes chronologically through the climb
-Intro is very descriptive-showing contrast between current & past showing dramatic difference between the two
-appealed to reader by being honest about her lack of motivation in life: admits she is lazy, lost and feels worthless
-inspires readers that they can get out of a similiar slump and possibly do something extraordinary
-describes the process of how she got there: trading in '88 Oldsmobile, Delta Skymiles, recording equipment and air conditioner, jogging and biking, etc.
-tells parents and siblings-they have doubt and lack of faith
-later Dad is proud of her accomplishment
-"No Hurry in Africa"- Musa's shirt (what is the signifigance?)
-"Pink Floyd laserlight spectacular"-describing stars in very detailed, clever way
-underlying topic: economic conditions of Africa (68)
-discusses both physical & emotional experience of climb
-underlying message: do your best, not what is other's best (69)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reflection concerning Inquiry Paper:


When writing my first draft on my paper that focused on whether women can “have it all:” career and a family, I focused primarily on the book written by Susan Holcomb entitled Not Guilty. This book provided me with a great deal of useful information concerning the drastic affect the media has on influencing society’s views concerning working women. Not Guilty focused on many of the main concerns of working women and the hardships that women in the last several decades have dealt with.
In addition to using Not Guilty as my primary source, I used other websites and Journals that gave evidence that mostly outlined and supported Holcomb’s claims.
Before receiving my first draft back I was well aware that I needed a great deal more research to fully understand the complexities of my controversy and was not surprised to find my professor thought I needed a great deal more research as well. Backlash by Susan Faludi was recommended to me by my professor, so I skimmed through the majority of this book. I found this book to be the most beneficial out of all my sources because it fully explained the origin of my controversy, showing that I needed to include a history of the feminist movement and how careers among women can be attributed to this group. I still incorporate many of Holcomb’s claims into my essay, but I have now used Faludi’s book as my primary source. I have used several governmental and other websites for statistical data. I have also used several journal articles that were found on academic search engines.
Due to the extensive research that I have now conducted, I believe that women can indeed “have it all” but that to do this affectively media, society, and other men must shift to correlate with the change of family dynamics. To affectively reduce the amount of stress placed on women juggling both a career and family, society must change the way they view working mothers. Rigid barriers still impede women or at least make becoming what they want difficult. I believe this mostly by reading Susan Faludi’s Backlash.
I reject the view that women should not work and that their ideal place is at home. I believe that women should be able to do whatever they want to do as men continue to do. If women choose to stay-at home and that is what makes them happy then they should do so.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This is my final copy of my Inquiry Paper:
Working Mothers: Unwieldy Undertaking or Feasible Potentiality?


In our current society numerous women are successful lawyers, judges, doctors, veterinarians, ministers, police officers, teachers, mechanics, insurance salesman, engineers, and business women all attacking the corporate world. Current data from the US Department of Labor shows that approximately fifty-seven percent of women, twenty years or older are employed compared to seventy percent of men. While many factors need to be considered when analyzing this data, such close percentages suggest that many women today are indeed working.
Women have not always had the freedom to possess any job of their choosing, but in our current society it is a possibility for women to obtain their job of choice. Although it is feasible for women to obtain jobs such as these, we are still in a process of struggle to break rigid models and conceptions of what society accepts in relation to women’s roles. Rigid models and expectations of women still in some ways make it difficult for women to acquire and maintain careers. There is a long history of events that has made it possible for the establishment and expansion of women’s rights, as they continue to strive for equality. Although many women today may theoretically have more choices regarding how they will comprise their lives, women still face many obstacles that have been present for centuries. Rigid age old conceptions enforced by society place certain expectations on women that unfortunately have not evolved with the changing roles of women. A major change in family dynamics, many women now have careers as well as families.
With this change in family dynamics, the question now is can women affectively balance both a career and a family? Since women’s working outside of the home changes the composition and roles within a family, how will family dynamics change to accommodate this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this change in many families? Will the quality of care we give our children change in environments where mothers work and even where both spouses work? Why did this change occur? To answer why more women are working in this century then in past history, it will be helpful to analyze the history of women’s roles in the United States and how these roles have evolved.
Changes for women began with the beginning of the Women’s movement, first started in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Anthony and Stanton launched the movement, demanding suffrage and an assortment of other liberties. From this point feminism and the National Women’s Party, first organized in 1916, began to campaign for an Equal Rights Amendment. In 1920, women won suffrage and feminists were encouraged by the progress they appeared to be making. World War II helped the feminist cause by allowing women to fill many jobs that men typically would have occupied if they were not currently fighting in the war (Faludi 50). As WWII came to a close Susan Faludi, author of one of the most noted feminist novels in recent years, notes one of the first of many “backlashes” in the American Feminist Movement.
Susan Faludi in her novel Backlash defines a “Backlash” or “an attempt to retract the handful of small and hard-won victories that the feminist movement has managed to win for women” (xviii). Unfortunately after the war, there was such a “backlash” as industry, men, and the media forced women to give up many of the jobs and progress they had made during the war. It was claimed that independent women has “gotten out of hand during the war” and essentially their activities needed to be curtailed (Faludi 50). In the 1940’s strong women as cultural icons became popular, such as the infamous “Wonder Woman” (Faludi 50). The 1950’s consisted of another “backlash” in which women were said to be denoted to “poorly paid secretaries” ( Faludi 54). The 1960’s and 1970’s consisted very similarly as the previous two decades and Faludi suggests that “backlashes” continue to occur usually after all advancements in the feminist movement. “Backlashes,” according to Susan Faludi are triggered by the awareness that women are making progress in the feminist quest for equality (xix).
With the given history of women’s struggle for equality, according to Faludi women currently “want the freedom to define themselves in the way that they choose” (xxiii). In the past, the struggle to obtain this freedom has been complicated by: culture, men, and the media. Today women are still being held back by many of these same influences that restricted women in the past. This history of being held back by various factions is the primary reason women are still finding it difficult to balance a family and a career. Society has not changed the rigid expectations placed on mothers even though the role that men and women possess within families has changed.
Thus some of the changes in family dynamics can be explained by the Women’s Rights Movement and the feminist community’s effort to obtain women’s equality. By seeing the affect influences such as our culture, the media and men have placed on women’s equality in the past, one can also obtain a good idea of the influences these dimensions currently have on women.
Given that the choices women possess are greatly impacted by the affect society is influenced by men, the media, and our culture, it is important to discuss men’s role in the history of women’s rights and in the present. A study conducted in the 1980’s concerning American male attitudes of women demanding independence and equality, found that only five to ten percent of the men surveyed actually supported this request (Faludi 59). Male opinions concerning the equality of women in the workplace are mainly negative. The Yankelovich Monitor survey that has polled social attitudes shows that for the past two decades there has been a fairly consistent definition of what men claim represents their masculinity. The definition of masculinity has been and appears to still be being a “good provider for his family” (Faludi 65). With this definition, one can understand men’s opposition to women’s threatening introduction into the workplace. As society has placed the expectation of women raising children, men also have an expectation to be the “breadwinner,” the one to provide food for his family (Faludi 65). Men feel threatened and are confused about how to allow women to enter the workplace when in the past the workplace defined who they were and their contributions to their families. This conflict between men and women is one of the main causes for past obstacles in the workplace and continues to be a factor inhibiting women’s advancement.
With the past providing many obstacles for women in the workplace, it is interesting to look at society’s perceptions of working mothers. Betty Holcomb, author of Not Guilty is declared by Familyeducation.com as having “one of the most persuasive argumentation in support of working mothers,” assures that studies show there are no significant differences in child development between the children of working moms and those of at-home moms. Halcomb fully explores the many negative critiques expressed concerning working mothers over the past two decades and shows the great variability in the responses. It is apparent in the 1990’s that public opinion fluctuated greatly based on the way in which the media currently published opinions. New York Women’s magazine in 1991 published an article entitled “Trophy Kids: Children of the Rich and Busy” in which they compared children of professional women with victims of domestic violence (Halcomb 20). Halcomb mentions that in Newsweek’s May 1997 issue asserts that working parents are “cheating their kids by not giving them enough love and attention” (21). These are just several of the many references Halcomb mentions that raise extreme claims concerning the affects working mothers have on their families. The media exploits experts’ claims to the extent that the general public is dramatically influenced by the current trendy study or theory released.
As can be seen, the media has a powerful effect on influencing society and specifically way working women are viewed. Media coverage is more expansive then ever and television shows, newspapers, magazines, movies, and books all promote views and ideas that can dramatically affect society’s opinions at a given time. Faludi as well as Holcomb assert this repeatedly with countless examples of media giving false information and thus misleading vast groups of people. Faludi discusses an ideal woman that centers on the media portrayal of Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Miss America pageants, and Clairol hair care products (56). The television show Desperate Housewives currently depicts women mostly dependent on their husbands, devoid of any real ambition, and seemingly glamorous, as an ideal which women should strive for. Television shows such as this one, as frivolous and entertaining as they may seem, influence society’s perceptions concerning women’s role in society. In this way the media in many cases hinders feminist advancements and in turn hinders the conception of women being able to adequately balance a career and family.
Although there appears to be overwhelming negativity concerning working mothers, there are media groups that are supporters. The American Psychological Association recommends that families with working mothers “may lead to positive outcomes for children including academic achievement and fewer behavior problems.” The APA also supports that there are indeed benefits for adults whose mothers were employed while growing up: “Young men and women who grew up with a mother employed outside the home have more positive attitudes toward families and are more likely to believe that husbands and wives share equal responsibility for household work.” Finally the APA states that “combining work and family roles can contribute to the well-being of women” through “parents developing interpersonal skills through interactions with their children that they can apply to their work roles” and the opposite as well.
While the ability to have careers is sometimes a choice women are fortunate enough to make, often because of economic reasons, women are forced to work to provide for themselves or their families. Struggling to provide for themselves and their families, these women not only work, but have the added pressure of having to make enough money to support their families. While this economic reality is extremely common, there are organizations present to help advise women having difficulties working while raising a family. “9 to 5,” the National Association for Working Women is such a group that’s campaign is to “win family-friendly policies for low wage women.” They have produced many resources to help working women and even have a “job survival hotline.”
Although there have been studies recently conducted that show benefits to both working mothers and their children, there is also evidence which shows detrimental affects on children and families of working mothers. The CWA or the Concerned Women for America reports that the Beverly LaHaye Institute claims that more than “thirty hours of childcare a week can result in a child becoming aggressive, defiant, and disobedient.” The quality of healthcare and the economic background of the children do not appear to affect the outcome. The study referenced also says that “children of mothers who go back to work full time while their children are infants have poorer mental and verbal development” then stay at-home mothers.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Human Child Care also confirms that children need the daily presence of their mother and that when deprived of this, infants fail to develop a secure attachment to their mother, which is a necessity to a child’s development. When three year olds from an average home environment and average child care whose mother did not work by the ninth month of the child’s birth, scored in the fiftieth percentile on the Bracken School Readiness test. Children in similar settings whose mothers were employed by the ninth month of their birth scored in the forty-forth percentile.
Given the various advantages and disadvantages concerning working mothers, women must weigh the various arguments carefully and make a decision they are comfortable with accepting. Many magazines, online resources, books, and studies advise mothers on how to balance work and family if they indeed decide to pursue a career. A family oriented website, familyeducation.com, advises that “every mother has options” and that there is always at least small adjustments that can be made to change one’s situation. Countless organizations exist that offer information, tips, and support for working women as well as stay at-home moms. Several examples include: National Federation of Business and Professional Women, National Association of Working Women, and the National Association for Female Executives. Companies such as Working Mother magazine are popular because it caters a bit more to working women.
With all of the advantages and disadvantages facing working women it is important to remember that sole responsibility regarding this change in society cannot be placed solely on mothers. If married, husbands should be sharing the weight of this change as well. It needs to be the role of society, media, and women to compensate for changes in women’s roles because they are part of the controversy. Working mothers cannot be expected to work full time and manage all of the household duties as well when men are only expected to work full time. With women adding responsibilities to their lives, some sort of compensation needs to take place to equal out the shift in responsibilities. A journal that explores the roles of both men and women claims that the reality is that “wives and mothers still spend more time on household tasks even when both parents are employed full time” (Etaugh 5). To allow women to adequately work and raise their families, family dynamics need to change to compensate for shifts in responsibilities. Two experts in social policy further support this need for compensation, by stating that the working mother and wife is “left to her devices to cope as wage or salary earner and unpaid house worker” (Levitan and Belous 27).
With all of the numerous groups involved in this issue, it is difficult to determine a clear solution as to what women, men, the media, and society should do to solve such a complicated issue. Some women are forced to work due to economic reasons; some want to work for personal reasons, and others would rather remain at home with their children. Some women do not even want children and may not even decide to work. All of these options are available to women, but are not necessarily easy to obtain given the influences our culture places on society.
After weighing all of the research and information received, I still have difficulty laying out the correct solution. I suggest that women need to be able to do what makes them feel satisfied and content with their lives. Women should place their happiness and well being before any other considerations. Men have done this since the beginning of history and have managed to lead satisfying lives. I believe that women who want to work and raise a family should be able to. Women have catered to men for many years and it is time that men help balance things out by considering the needs of women through compromises. As stated before, the media needs to adequately represent women as they have with men for centuries. Such changes are of course difficult and will take a great deal of time to correct. Women ultimately want to define themselves in the way that pleases them. In order for this to occur, men, the media, and our culture will have to evolve into a place where women and men are truly equal.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Additions to my Controversy paper:


In our current society numerous women are successful lawyers, judges, doctors, veterinarians, ministers, police officers, and any other job that is obtainable. Women have not always had the freedom to possess any job of their choosing, but in our current society it is possible for women to obtain their job of choice. Although it is possible for women to obtain jobs such as these, we are still in the process of a long struggle to break rigid models and conceptions of what society accepts and condones in relation to the roles of women. Rigid models and expectations of women still in some ways make it difficult for women to acquire and maintain careers. There is a long history of events that has made it possible for the expansion of women’s rights as they continue to strive for equality. Although many women today may theoretically have more choices regarding how they will comprise their lives, women still face many obstacles that have been present for centuries. Rigid age old conceptions enforced by society place certain expectations on women that unfortunately have not evolved with the changing roles of women. Many women now have careers as well as families, which is a major change in family dynamics.
With this change in family dynamics, the question now is can women affectively balance both a career and a family? Since women’s working outside of the home changes the composition and roles within a family, how will family dynamics change to accommodate this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this change in many families? Why did this change occur? To answer why more women are working than previously, it may be helpful to analyze the history of women’s roles in the United States and how these roles have evolved.
Changes for women began with the beginning of the Women’s movement which first started in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton asking demanding suffrage and an assortment of other liberties. From there feminism began and the National Women’s Party, first organized in 1916, began to campaign for an Equal Rights Amendment. In 1920, women won suffrage and feminists were encouraged by the progress they appeared to be making. World War II helped the feminist cause by allowing women to fill many jobs that men would typically have occupied if they were not currently fighting in the war.
Susan Faludi in her novel Backlash defines a “Backlash” or “an attempt to retract the handful of small and hard-won victories that the feminist movement managed to win for women” (Faludi xviii). Unfortunately after the war, there was such a “backlash” in industry, men, and the media forced women to give up many of the jobs and progress they had made during the war. It was claimed that independent women has “gotten out of hand during the war” (50). In the 1940’s strong women as cultural icons became popular, such as the infamous “wonder woman” (50). The 1950’s consisted of another “backlash” in which women were said to be denoted to “poorly paid secretaries” (54). The 1960’s and 1970’s consisted in very similar ways as the previous two decades and Faludi suggests that “backlashes” continue to occur usually after advancement in the feminist movement. “Backlashes,” according to Susan Faludi are triggered by the awareness that women are making progress in the feminist quest for equality (xix).
So currently with the given history of women’s struggle for equality, women ultimately want the freedom to define themselves in the way that they choose. In the past, the struggle to obtain this freedom has been complicated by: culture, men, and the media. Today women are still being held back by many of these same influences that restricted women in the past.
It can be concluded that some of the changes in family dynamics can be explained by the Women’s Rights Movement and the feminist community’s effort to obtain women’s equality. By seeing the affect influences such as our culture, the media and men have placed on women’s equality in the past, one can also obtain a good idea of the influences these dimensions currently have on women.
The media as in the past, has a powerful effect on influencing society and our culture overall. Media coverage is more expansive then ever and television shows, newspapers, magazines, movies, and books all promote views and ideas that can dramatically affect society’s opinions at a given time. Faludi as well as Holcomb assert this repeatedly with countless examples of media giving false information, misleading vast groups of people. Faludi discusses an ideal woman that centers on the media portrayal of Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Miss America pageants, and Clairol hair care products. The television show Desperate Housewives currently depicts women mostly dependent on their husbands, devoid of any real ambition, and seemingly glamorous as the ideal with which women should strive for. Television shows such as this one, as frivolous and entertaining as they may seem, influence society’s perceptions concerning women. In this way the media in many cases hinders....

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Social and Political Philosophy (shorter paper 1) for Beatty's class:


"Undemocratic Act: “Invisible Minority” Subject to Special Privileges?

Mohr in his article “Invisible Minorities, Civic Rights, Democracy: Why even conservatives should support gay rights,” claims that homosexuals need gay civil rights legislation for the proper functioning of government. Mohr gives three main reasons for the need of such legislation: to have access to judicial and civic rights, access to political rights as in the first amendment, and if our democracy is to have a “utilitarian rationale” (Mohr 182). We need gay civic rights legislation because we are stuck in a “vicious cycle” in which gay individuals cannot fight for gay rights unless they are “out” or publicly admitted they are gay, yet they cannot safely come “out” unless they have gay rights (Mohr 191). Homosexuals need to have the ability to be open about who they are in order to influence public opinion, but are unable to. Thus due to these complications, Mohr claims that to impede this “vicious cycle” gay civic rights legislation is essential.
Although Mohr explores the problems of the “invisible minority” of homosexuals, he fails to support his claim that such a minority needs their own individual legislation. There are countless minorities that make up the United States and demanding legislation for a single minority gives preference to that particular one. Why should one minority have precedence over others? Wouldn’t this jeopardize the equality and freedom that Mohr was discussing when he mentioned citizens’ first amendment rights of speech, press, and assembly? Placing the restrictions that would be needed to give homosexuals added protection detracts from others civic and judicial rights in many ways. Thus, I will formulate the reasons why gay and lesbian citizens of the United States should not receive their own individual civic and judicial rights legislation because it forces the government to show preference to an individual minority, which is undemocratic.
Awarding gays and lesbians with civic and judicial legislation forces government to choose one invisible minority over many others. Singer’s Democracy and Disobedience discusses what he identifies this sort of preferential treatment as “selective restriction” or favoring some members of a society over others (Singer 65). He states that this partiality “destroys the fair compromise which is the basis of democratic obligations” (Singer 65). If people wish to stop fighting over issues then Singer suggests we produce a system in which issues are decided by vote without anyone being allowed to speak concerning them. Restrictions on the freedom of speech must be equal; otherwise we are jeopardizing democracy (Singer 66). Thus, differentiating protection among groups of any sort must be equal in our democratic nation. Granting gays and lesbians with their own legislation would be giving them an advantage that all minorities or even majorities do not possess.
Since giving gays and lesbians legislation provides inequality among the other minorities/majorities, something would need to be implemented to counteract this so that our nation remains democratic. This is where the problem begins. If we implement gay and lesbian legislation, then we would be forced to implement every other minority/majority with their own legislation to balance out the preferences given to gays and lesbians. By implementing numerous legislations, we are complicating our government, putting many unnecessary restrictions on citizens, and overall hindering citizens more than protecting them.
Thus if we indeed implemented numerous legislations to balance the amount of power each minority/majority possessed then overall what benefits will new legislation have on these groups? Each group would benefit with laws that are designed solely to prosecute anyone who violates any of the issues of discrimination found presently within their particular group. But wouldn’t having all of these individual legislations in some ways cause infringements on at least some citizen’s rights? It is likely impossible to absolve discrimination of all minorities and majorities. Overlapping of restrictions placed on the numerous minorities/majorities would incur.
Conflicts would almost definitely arise if the majority of minority and majority groups that exist each had their own legislation helping to prevent discrimination and equality within our nation. An example might help clarify this idea. If one created legislation for both a pro-life and pro-choice abortion groups each would expect equal representation and to ensure that the each isn’t discriminated against because of their particular beliefs. Since both are on opposing sides, it would be very difficult to have equal rights for both groups, considering that it is almost impossible for every group to have equitable distribution. Government trying to enforce such legislation would be a daunting task that would ultimately end in failure.
The definition of an “invisible minority,” according to Mohr is a minority whose members are identified through an act of will on someone’s part (Mohr 182). By this definition other invisible minorities must include groups such as: drug addicts, people with mental illnesses, and all religious and non-religious groups. I will first take a look at people with mental illnesses and explore how as a “invisible minority” they technically would be entitled to their own legislation according to Mohr, so that they do not become victims of discrimination.
People with an assortment of mental illnesses, including ones as common as depression are viewed negatively. A person with a mental illness is typically thought of as incompetent, useless, and a waste to society. The media perpetuates this negative view and capitalizes on portraying people with mental illnesses as scary and incompetent. Many in this “minority” do not have an equal voice politically as compared to those who are not identified with a mental illness because of being viewed negatively. People identified with a mental illness may have difficulty finding a job or the particular one they want and may not be allowed to have children. Due to all of these factors, many people with mental illnesses may try to keep such information private and not want to inform others of such a condition. In a similar way, gay and lesbians often keep their sexuality hidden because of the negative way the media and society portrays them. By revealing their identity many gay individuals risk being able to have children and obtain jobs.
There are differences between the two minorities, which complicates the comparison. Individuals with mental illnesses are considered sick and in some way disabled, while being gay does not mean you have a problem. Being gay not being considered a problem can of course be debated though according to one’s beliefs. We will assume in this scenario that being gay does not make one sick in any way. A mental illness may be a temporary thing that one could be cured from and typically someone who is gay or lesbian remains this way for their entire life because it is believed to be part of their identity. Having a mental illness doesn’t normally cause discrimination concerning marriage and property rights while these are areas that gay/lesbian individuals sometimes face discrimination. Although these are all differences between these two “invisible minorities,” there are many similarities. These similarities show that if Mohr claims that due to discrimination perpetuated by the media Gay/lesbian individuals should have their own civic/judicial rights, then it follows that people with mental illnesses should have their own as well. Both “invisible minorities” face discrimination that makes it difficult for them without risk to their inherent rights; publicly reveal this aspect of their identities. Thus in this way if Mohr claims that gay and lesbian individuals are entitled to legislation, so are people with mental illnesses.
Mohr claiming that gay and lesbian individuals are entitled to their own legislation raises other important issues. Similarly if people with mental illnesses are entitled to civic and judicial legislation to protect them from discrimination, then it is necessary that all other groups identified as “invisible minorities” have their own legislation as well. The problem with all “invisible minorities” having their own legislation is that drug addicts for example could be defined as an “invisible minority” as well. Drug addicts have many of the same characteristics that both people with mental illnesses and gay/lesbian individuals possess. Druggies are viewed negatively as out of control, subject to discrimination, and typically do not want any sort of public acknowledgement of their condition. The problem with giving druggies legislation to fight discrimination brought against them is that many of the drugs that they use are most likely illegal and thus are breaking the law. The government cannot defend those that are blatantly breaking the law. What would that say about our government and our society allowing such a thing? Of course this is one of the major differences between the two “minorities” of gay/lesbian individuals and drug addicts. Drug addicts are breaking the law while gay/lesbians are not. Or are they?
Gay/lesbian individuals engage in sexual acts that are sometimes different from those of heterosexual couples. Sexual acts of gay/lesbian couples in many cases are illegal because it states this in the Constitution. Thus in a way, one might claim that giving gay/lesbians legislation defending their civic/judicial rights is condoning breaking the law. By forming civic/judicial legislation in defense of gay/lesbians we are contradicting part of the constitution that restricts sexual acts of such individuals.
Supporting illegal activity raises another question: who decides which “invisible minorities” need legislation and which ones don’t? Which minorities are good and which are bad? Can society and government really decide this? Wouldn’t deciding such issues take away aspects that make our nation a democracy?
A democracy according to the Oxford English Dictionary is a form of government in which the majority of its members have control. By giving an “invisible minority” their own legislation, we are giving them in a sense power that is not part of the definition of democracy. Our democratic government does not support the idea of giving separate protections to a particular minority. The United States Constitution gives all citizens of our nation equal right so why must a minority have their own separate legislation stating these same rights? Mohr fails to adequately explain why gay/lesbians should obtain this privileged right that other minorities to not profit from.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Strange but welcomed weather"

The weather outside today was beautiful!! I woke up around 6:45 am and went for a run in shorts and a t-shirt, which isn’t typical in the beginning of March. I came back, took a shower, talked to my roommate, and rushed to admissions to begin the day. Fridays are Macon Days thus I need to be at admissions at 9:30 am. Twelve high school students came for the Macon Day today and everything went smoothly. All of the student hosts came and many of the prospective students seemed very interested in the school, most of them already accepted to Randolph-Macon.
After I finished my work in admissions, I ran some errands around town to get ready for the night. One of my good friends from high school who goes to the University of Virginia was coming down for the night. We were going to several bars in downtown Richmond to celebrate Jenny’s 21st birthday. I went and bought beer and several other necessities at Walmart. When I arrived back to the house, De and I relaxed outside, sunning ourselves for several hours: me in a bathing suit and her in a thin blue tank top. The sun lightly grazed our backs as we read through magazines and commented on how much we wished the weather would stay this way, warm and pleasant. After several hours of relaxing in the sun, I came inside and took a shower. Chris, my friend who was coming to visit, would be there in an hour or so. I was excited at the prospect of seeing him when it had been almost two years since the last time we had gotten together. After my shower, I finished getting dressed and waited for the fun night to begin…

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Introduction for my paper for Dr. Beatty (philosophy):

As carefully discussed in Beatty’s essay entitled “For Honors Sake: Moral Education, Honor Systems, and the Informer-Rule,” Beatty opposes educational institutions forcing students to abide by an “Informer-Rule (1).” The Informer- rule obligates students of an institution to report any kind of cheating to administration regardless of the student’s feelings toward the violating academic act (1). The relationship to the cheating student or situation of the student is considered irrelevant by endorsing this Informer-rule. Beatty states that the Informer-rule “undermines the values” that we obtain through our relationships with others. Values of “natural sympathy, solidarity, genuine friendship, and fellow-feeling” are undermined or weakened by forcing a student to integrate this rule into their actions (6). Although in some cases the Informer-rule may undermine values normally given adequate importance, in many cases the Informer-rule may indeed be more beneficial than detrimental to the person cheating and society as a whole. I will try to highlight in the proceeding text that the Informer- rule should be encouraged due to its many instances of benefit but should not be enforced as method of responding to all instances of academic violation.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is an email I sent for a position within my sorority that I am interested in.
Here is my summary for Risk Management:

As far as past experience with DZ I was on nominating committee freshman year, VP of Programming sophomore year, and Panhel VP of Service this year as well as a recruitment counselor. Outside of the sorority I am involved in an array of leadership positions (naming just a few): SGA freshman and junior class prez, orientation leader for 2 years, admissions intern...I am very interested in this position because I feel that I am responsible, caring, approachable, and really want to ensure the safety and well-being of our sorority to the best of my ability. Since I was on eboard my sophomore year, I was able to see what Von Lunz's job entailed closely and met with her about what the position includes. I interviewed for the position last year and was also slated for it. As far as new ideas for Risk management, I will try to find innovative ways to have the educational sessions. Maybe we could sometimes do them during house dinners or other activities.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This was an outline I did for an oral presentation that I gave today. I was up for a while last night trying to understand this article.


Chaucer’s Philosophical Visions
“The House of Fame: Truth Claims, Logic Games”
-Kathryn L. Lynch

1. Medieval Dream theory- once cannot say anything authoritative from the perspective of a dream itself about its causes, effects, and truth value
-Chaucer wants to recall a particular dream – one of House of Fame-but medieval dream theory of time says that there will be no particular truth in the dream
-example: lines (11-17

2. Logic- the study of truth value of language

-was writing directly after the “golden age” of English logic
-logic still making major contribution to philosophical discourse at time Chaucer was writing-thus Chaucer was familiar w/ popular conceptions of logic at the time
Major logicians of time: William of Ockham, Richard Kilvington, William of Heytesbury
-Lynch in her article says that some of Chaucer’s ideas in house of fame concerning logic, resemble William of Ockham’s theories
-William of Ockham-
-dealt w/ future contingency-which is that future is based/contingent on other events
example: if dog dies then plans of taking him to the beach w/ you wouldn’t be possible = your “truth” or reality changes with your dog dying

Example: Book III: pg 361 lines (1137-1147)- deals with idea of contingency-“but men say, what may endure forever” –exploring the idea of if things can endure forever by narrator describing how he couldn’t make out the names written on the side of a rock-
Ockham’s theory: truth is relative to time
Chaucer questions:
-can yield universal truth through study of the world?
-Eagles speech applies logic using fallacies (breaking rules): tautology, non sequitur, circular argument, and ‘proofs’ that prove nothing
-Lady Fame mocks logic when allows some to have fame & others not w/ out logical evidence to support her decisions
Ockham’s “as of now” inferences- an inference may be valid at a certain time, because the opposite of the consequent may be consistent w/ the antecedent
-Lady fame uses many “as of now” and “material” inferences in her prose when deciding which “companies” are allowed to receive fame/recognition and which ones are not

Example: Book III: pg. 369, lines (1823-1838
-shows Chaucer’s rejection that logic simplifies/ clarifies truth & the world

3. Conclusions:
-Chaucer is rejecting the idea that logic clarifies or in some way heightens truth
-Lynch concludes her article by saying that Chaucer seems to be claiming this “the world may be so singular, so diverse, so confusing, that knowledge and the dissemination of truth may still not be possible” (82).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Major Peer Review for Rachel Powers
Controversy: Gender Communication in Professional Community


I like how what is written is overall very simply put so that all readers will be able to understand the complexity of the controversy. The purpose of your writing is identified almost initially and is clear. Your thesis is exploring the negative and positive interactions/communications between men and women and sexual harassment.
The key components of Controversy: professional space has developed complications due to women’s new career aspirations and thus companies have to add sexual policies. The “corporate arena” forgets that men and women speak, act, and think differently and these differences need to be acknowledged to provide effective communication. Differing views of what is sexual harassment makes it difficult to identify it and thus prevent it. Sexual harassment comes from a miscommunication between men and women. You also mention the debate on whether pornography is sexual harassment. This issue needs to be explained in more detail and who needs to be mentioned are on each side of the debate. You also mention the debate on whether schools/colleges can impose speech and conduct codes. This is a good start in looking at both sides of the controversy, but I think there are still a lot of issues and complications that haven’t been touched on. The way the controversy is outlined remains neutral. Further questions/controversies that may need to be “flushed out:”

-what other reasons have caused complications between men and women in the workplace other than women becoming more ambitious: once in workplace together what is causing sexual harassment and miscommunication?
-What changes can corporations make other than sexual harassment policies that improve gender communication?
-is equality an issue among men and women that leads to conflict?
-with definition of sexual harassment differing, who is involved in that debate?

It appears that Rachel has a good understanding of her controversy, considering she uses her company as an example of a corporation that has gender tensions. Although there is a lot of useful information, it seems that a lot is based on prior knowledge and not as much research. It may be beneficial to use additional sources in you essay.

The community is described as the work environment itself, but the real community seems to me to be the men and women in the environment, not the physical setting. It could be helpful to describe men and women’s typical behaviors in the work



environment. Simply describing the typical work environment doesn’t do as much for the essay, because the description isn’t used to support a claim or position.

Topic sentences:
The professional space for men and women develops complications because women have recently began to empower themselves through their career aspirations.
Most professional areas look the same.
Corporations, such as the one I work in, usually consist of a balanced amount of men and women, although mine employs more women because many positions in the company carry more secretarial or clerical duties.
Was this the case with Scott, an incident of sexual harassment or gender discrimination?
Taking a look at the definition of sexual harassment, the Columbia Encyclopedia defines it as…
Incidents have occurred over time that cause the definition to fluctuate as described in the Columbia encyclopedia.
Where does sexual harassment come from?
In other words, sexual harassment forms due to unbalanced relationship and social interaction between men and women.
In these studies women deal with sexual harassment in two ways.
The topic sentences overall do a good job of introducing the paragraphs. Some begin with a question and other with “in” and it might be better to change these with stronger, more forceful beginnings to paragraphs.
This essay is more exploratory than persuasive because I see very little bias in support of men or women. I cannot see that the writer has an opinion because I don’t think the reader has completed all that she would like to say about this controversy. All of the various groups involved in this topic, their positions, and how they fit into the overall picture need to be discussed.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Style summary Lesson 3:

In chapter 3 Williams discusses clarity and how to adjust the style of writing based on the form of writing one is doing. He emphasizes that a writer has to use their own judgement in many situations, because there are not any set rules. Williams offers two main principles to help with clarity: make main characters subjects and make important actions verbs. An example of making the main character a subject would be: changing "the wolf's jump out from behind the tree" to "the wolf jumped from behind the tree" (33). The story and the grammar of a sentence should match.
When composing fairy tales or academic writing a sentence is clear when its important actions are verbs. A reader will think that writing is dense if you use a lot of abstract nouns, especially ones with -tion,-ment, or -ence on the end. These are called nouns that have been nominalized. An example is the nominative form of resist is resistance. Readers prefer that most subjects be characters and most verbs be actions. Thus, in most cases nominalized verbs should be changed to action verbs.
Williams also informs us that it is often difficult for a writer to be objective with their own writing, so he offers a tip to get around this unaviodable fact. Underline the first seven or eight words of every sentence and if you don't see in those words a character and a verb as a specific action then the writing may need to be revised. Although in most cases one should not use nominalizations, there are several cases where it is better to keep them. In some cases nominalizations used as a short subject and replacing awkward beginnings to sentences are two examples when it may be best to keep verbs nominalized. Overall, Williams advises to use common sense when writing clearly.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Descriptive passage describing sitting in my family room at home:

A warm yet faint light is emitted from the right corner of the slightly cool, homely room. A quiet drumming can be heard several rooms away as the clothes in the dryer turn over and over slowly becoming a little drier. A smell of warm buttered popcorn evades the room with a hint of dinner still lingering in the air. Outside it is silent, with only an occasional cold breeze, shaking the plentiful trees surrounding the gray house. I shiver slightly and curl a bit more under the soft, cozy fleece blanket covering my bare legs and feet. A comforting lull seems to encompass the house as I sit in silence alone in the room. Darkness creeps through the two windows, making the faint light of the room even more appreciated. Footsteps can be heard tiptoeing up the stairs and a door slowly closes. I am alone. A loud buzz sounds, alerting me my clothes are finally finished drying. I slowly pull the warm fleece away and make my way down the hall.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Commentary on Saw II:

I just finished watching Saw II, which was recently released. I had seen the first movie and was disturbed by the cruel yet creative ways that 'Jigsaw,' the serial killer chose to utlimately kill his victims. I was dissapointed to find that the second movie was not up to standard with the first. Although Saw I had a decent amount of gore, the sequel had a great deal of gore, mainly with immense amounts of blood spurting from various parts of victims' bodies. I found amount of blood to be excessive and detracted from the movie. The plot itself is not as good as the first one and mainly plays off ideas that were already used in the first movie. In the beginning a man is placed in a cage sort of contraption on his head, resembling the one the girl was wearing in the first movie, except for this new contraption has nails on each side so that it will snap closed, releasing many nails into the man's head, obviously killing him. Many other similarities among the two movies exist: both take place in the same house (sometimes in different areas) and both have the same overall plot. There are very few twists in the movie, which shows lack of creativity. Instead of being disturbed or scared I was actually tired by the end of the movie.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I wrote most of this last night for my OL application that is due Friday (this is just an excerpt since I haven't finished it yet) These are the responses to several of my questions:


1. An orientation leader is to act as a role model and guide for new students who are likely overwhelmed, anxious and apprehensive about beginning their college experience. I will act as new students’ support system; offering them advice about potential problems and ensuring that they are getting the most out of orientation that they possibly can. Since I have been involved in a great deal on campus, I have had many opportunities to communicate and work with many members of the faculty and staff at Randolph-Macon. I am familiar with many aspects of campus as well as the resources available to students since I have personally utilized many of them.

2.I am a good listener and understand that within a group there are many different people and personalities, making it essential to be receptive to everyone in the group. To do this, one must be flexible and ready to befriend everyone in a group to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and feel they can confide in me. I feel for the past two years that I have been able to do this.

3.I very much enjoyed my orientation experience as an incoming freshman. My orientation leader was enthusiastic and I remember wanting to be just like her, because she was a “cool college student” and seemed so efficient in getting things done. She was/is involved in a lot on campus and I remember thinking that I hoped I could be as involved as she was. I had been on campus several weeks before orientation began for a leadership conference, so I felt a little more comfortable then a lot of new freshman feel when they first arrive. During my orientation we had so many activities and events that I felt that I didn’t have adequate time to think or adjust to the major change that I was currently going through. I would recommend that it is taken on to consideration that incoming freshman are overwhelmed and it would be beneficial to give them a little bit of free time to cope with the many changes that are occurring in such a short period of time. I think in the past two years, since I have been an orientation leader, freshman have had more a little more free time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

When writing my controversy essay, I somehow didn't incorporate a clear thesis into my introduction, so I included it here as well as an additional paragraph that I have written. Both of these will be added to my essay:

Thesis:
Given the ever increasing number of choices women possess, every woman desiring motherhood must now determine whether to stay-at-home or continue to work; a tumultuous and important task for mothers.

New paragraph:
Claudia Goldin in a recent study entitled the “Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family,” identifies five generations or “cohorts” that each place different emphasis on the importance of family and career (Goldin 116). Women who graduated from college from 1946 to 1965 typically emphasized family over jobs. Women graduating from 1966 to 1979 emphasized career and then family. The most current generation analyzed, women who graduated from 1980 to 1990, emphasize career then family. These three generations show the steady progression from an emphasis on family to the current emphasis on career. Goldin defines these women as “on the fast track,” due to this rapid change in what they assess as most important.